Some Corrective Measures for Gadget Defense

In a recent blog post called “Your Brain On Computers”, I mentioned that I’d recently shared the stage with Dr. Ned Hallowell and others at the Screen Time Sanity Telesummit, where I listed some eye-opening facts about how it’s not just ADHD kids with media-abuse problems — but adults as well.

In a follow-on post I shared some of the costs of media mayhem – costs that directly hit your productivity’s bottom line. (And you thought your gadgets made you MORE productive?!)

Here in Part 3, I offer some tips for mitigating media-based miseries…

First: Take Stock…Get Aware…Recognize

TechnologyInYourHandDr. Ned Hallowell, who coined the phrase “screensucking” in his book, Crazy Busy, suggests the first thing we must do is recognize the problem. A few steps…

  1. Be the Witness: I teach about “being the witness” to your thoughts, which helps us save mental energy, fight negative thinking, and more. And as our gadgets become practically an appendage and we reach for them without much thought, see if you can become more observant of your gadgetorial behavior. See if you can catch yourself grabbing for it when you’re waiting in line, for example.
  2. Make note of when you’re using your gadgets for non-critical consumption. See if you can begin to quantify the amount of time you spend doing mindless things on your phone or tablet – checking and re- and re-re-checking your emails…gaming…social media marathons.
  3. Do a media audit, as I suggest in Video I, Way 4: Crush Time. Make a list of ALL your media behaviors, both benign and dubious. Identify ONE that you could reduce or eliminate – and then use that saved time for something more powerful!

Here’s an email I got recently from someone who clearly did a media audit and saw a cool change…

“I just want to pass on my thanks to you, and everyone involved in making your product. I don’t claim to have it all down just yet but I am working on it.

“I found I was spending a lot of ‘quality’ time with my 7 year old daughter in front of the TV. All we were learning was what we both like on TV.

“Now I cut an hour out of this time, go to the park at the end of our road, and play soccer instead. Now I learn a lot more about who she is as a person and how I can help her life in a positive way. You know…like helping her overcome things she feels she can’t do.”

It felt SO good to get this email. Imagine what you could do with a well-intentioned re-investment of an hour a day…or even an hour a week.

Next: Create Some Rules

In a recent study, two thirds of children said that their parents have no media rules for them. Hence, it’s not very likely many adults – parent or not – have rules for themselves. So the next thing we can do is…give ourselves a few rules!

Here are a few rules you can try out:

  1. Whenever you’re not engaged in a timebound, work-related task on your screen, then mentally label it as such. Separate the “needed” from the “escapes”.
  2. Cut the crap out of your diet – excessive sugar and simple carbs. Poor diet results in choosing media escapes more frequently.
  3. There should NOT be a TV screen in the bedroom – anyone’s bedroom.
  4. Get your butt outside. Exercise. Bring the kids. And you can even bring your phone.

In Sum…

We need to get present to the facts of our own media abuses, particularly our reflexive repeated checking of our devices, and spend more time just…being…still. As Eckart Tolle suggests, when you’re standing in line, just be “Enjoyin’ yourself….Enjoy in your self.”

A top researcher in this field says, “Whether you are a parent or not, carving out time to turn off your devices — to disconnect from the wired world and engage with the real people who are all around you — is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and the people you love.”

Tune in. Turn off. Right on!


P.S. — If you haven’t yet heard of, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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